Organize + Energize: What’s Holding You Back?
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
You have uncompleted projects that are accumulating. You live in chaos and continue to procrastinate. Sound familiar? These tasks will continue to hang over your head and add to your mental clutter.
It’s always going to be in the back of your mind until you complete it.
What are your excuses for not tackling it now? Write them down, take a look at them and talk through what’s holding you back.
Here are 5 reasons you procrastinate:
There is too much emotion. There may be a reason you have pushed this project aside. It may involve going through sentimental items that will stir emotions. You may be going through deceased relative’s belongings, childhood memories, or items that trigger bad memories, etc. As you declutter, try to disconnect and just focus on what you’re keeping or tossing. Once you get through that process, then you can set aside some time to reminisce on the items you’re keeping. Try to distance yourself from reminiscing and just focus on decluttering. There will be time for reminiscing later, but now, you have a project to tackle.
Time management. This will only be a daunting task if you allow it to be. Your projects aren’t going to take you months. If you start now, you could have your entire home organized in less than 3 months! Don’t let a 3-hour project turn into an all-day affair. Unless you are a hoarder dealing with exorbitant amounts of clutter, your organizing projects shouldn’t take you very long. The average project will take about 3 hours depending on the amount of clutter. If you must, break the project up into several days. The first day you can declutter, the next day categorize and itemize and the next work on creating your organized systems. By breaking the process down, you can easily wrap your head around the project.
Can’t focus. You procrastinate because you know you’re going to shut down an hour into your project. Once you decide to tackle a project, you must limit your distractions and stay focused. Set a time limit for your project. Stay in the room you are working in. Turn off the TV. Don’t answer your phone or check your email. Basically, let the room you are working in hold you hostage for the next 3 hours.
Skill set hasn’t been developed. Are you worried that if you start to tackle this, you won’t finish because you don’t have the skill set? You may continually walk around in circles during your project. You just can’t wrap your head around how to create a working organized system. This is when it’s time to bring in a professional. Stop wasting precious time and make the call. They will transfer their skill set to you and will teach you how to tackle more projects in the future.
Lack of motivation. Call it lack of motivation or laziness. You’d rather be doing anything else than organizing your kitchen. You’ll spend an hour on Facebook, but just can’t seem to spend an hour tackling a closet. Is it because all of the factors above come into play? Think about why you aren’t motivated and once you recognize which factor it is, then you can make some changes and make a plan to tackle your project.
You may find if you tackle this project when you work at your best, you may be more motivated. Think about what’s holding you back and then make a solid plan to get it done. Think about how you are going to feel once it’s completed. We feel more stress when things are hanging over our head. Complete your project and you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted. You will be asking yourself why you didn’t tackle it sooner.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.